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Old Jan 23, 2012, 9:33 PM   #11
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I personally format my card after every use in the camera. Jim C recommend I start doing that a few years back and have been doing it ever since. Make sure you format it in the camera not in the card reader/camera.

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Old Jan 24, 2012, 8:27 AM   #12
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Cameras use the FAT32 file system, which uses a pair of File Allocation Tables to keep track of where files and portions of files are stored on the medium. On a freshly formatted drive, the FAT is empty. As you add files to the medium, the FAT keeps track of where the files have been written. When you delete a file, the space the file was written to is simply marked as empty, and the next file you create will be written to that free space. If the next file you add is smaller than the file you deleted, then some of that space is still listed as free. The next file will be written to that small portion of free space, and the rest of that file that won't fit will be written to the next available free space. As a result, the file will become fragmented, and will take longer to retrieve than other files. As you store and then delete files, they get more and more fragmented, and even the free space becomes fragmented. Keeping track of all these file fragments and the fragmented free space becomes quite complicated and precarious. The FAT file system uses two File Allocation Tables to check for consistency. If, at any time and for any reason, the two FATs aren't identical, the file system fails and you can't store or retrieve anything.

The more you use a memory card without reformatting it, the more likely you will lose everything on the card. If you haven't had any trouble up to now, you're just edging closer and closer to catastrophe.
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Old Jan 24, 2012, 4:32 PM   #13
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This applies to all types of cards? I formatted the SD card in my current camera last night. First time ever, thanks to this this. I love this place - I don't come here often but I learn something everytime I do.

Is it necessary to format a brand new card of whatever type? I've always assumed they're already formatted.
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Old Jan 24, 2012, 5:53 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TCav View Post
The more you use a memory card without reformatting it, the more likely you will lose everything on the card.
If you haven't had any trouble up to now, you're just edging closer and closer to catastrophe.
Hehe, than I must have 299 catastrophes behind me
Fairy tales .... I format a card ONCE every half year in camera ...

And FAT32? Hmmmm ... My NEX5 makes ...


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Old Jan 24, 2012, 6:26 PM   #15
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exFAT is a propietary extension of FAT32 that supports larger volumes and larger file sizes, but it's slower for large files and doesn't have the protection of the duplicate FATs that FAT32 has. It also has limited compatibility.

Go ahead. Tempt fate. Good luck to you.
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Old Jan 24, 2012, 6:30 PM   #16
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Quote:
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This applies to all types of cards?
Yes, except for 64GB and larger cards, which use exFAT in devices that support it and them.

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Is it necessary to format a brand new card of whatever type? I've always assumed they're already formatted.
You should always format cards in the camera before you use them. Different cameras often have different folder structures, which the camera will create after it's done formatting.
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Old Jan 25, 2012, 10:09 AM   #17
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Quote:
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You should always format cards in the camera before you use them.
Said who? Pope Benedict? Queen Mum? Bart Simpson?

Hehe, each formating of card shortens lifetime of card.
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Old Jan 25, 2012, 11:16 AM   #18
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Hehe, each formating of card shortens lifetime of card.
Formatting a card only rewrites the file allocation tables. That shortens the life of the card less than taking a single photo would. (Hehe.)
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Old Jan 25, 2012, 12:02 PM   #19
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Formatting a card only rewrites the file allocation tables. That shortens the life of the card less than taking a single photo would. (Hehe.)
Hehe. Wrong. EACH formating, even only FAT, shortens lifetime counter!
Sometimes a card is dead after 100 formats ... even with LIFETIMEWARRANTY.
Nobody knows which cards use "wear leveling" (changing area for FAT) ...
but 100.000x writings should be enough ... even often there are only 100x

Lifetime = as long as it is alive


Speed (USB2) - writing (HD to card):

transfering 10 GB (4 files) to SDHC (FAT32) ---> 10:30 .... 1GB = 63 sec
transfering 10 GB (4 files) to SDXC (exFAT) ---> 10:35 .... 1GB = 63.5 sec
transfering 20 GB ( 1 file) to SDXC (exFAT) ---> 20:50 .... 1GB = 62.5 sec

reading back to HD 20GB ---> 15:28 .... 1GB = 46.4 sec

FAT32 (32 GB) and exFAT (64 GB) ... same writing speed


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Old Jan 25, 2012, 1:45 PM   #20
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There is no "Lifetime Counter"!

The individual memory locations will eventually fail (after about 100,000 write cycles), and when they do, the sector they're in is remapped to a spare sector that all cards have. (Some manufacturers include more than others, but they all include them.)

From Wikipedia's article on File Allocation Table:
Quote:
It [exFAT] offers several benefits over FAT32 including breaking the 4 GB file size limit of FAT32 (only without the FAT+[2] extension, which allows files larger than 4 GB also on FAT32 volumes), being more space-efficient for files smaller than 64 KB on large volumes and, compared to light-weight implementations of FAT32 in DOS and some embedded systems, it can offer faster seeks if more than a few thousand files are stored in a single sub-directory, whereas FAT32 is typically faster than exFAT for larger files as used on digital cameras, camcorders and media players or when flash cards are used mainly for archival purposes.
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